Premier League: Liverpool title hopes blown away by Gayle

CRYSTAL PALACE 3 LIVERPOOL 3

LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers last night conceded the Premier League title to Manchester City after shipping three goals in the final 11 minutes to drop two vitally important points.

Goals from Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year Luis Suarez looked set to move Liverpool three points clear at the top.

But Palace stormed back with a deflected effort from Damien Delaney, then a double from former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Dwight Gayle to devastate the Reds’ players and supporters.

Rodgers’ team moved a point clear at the top of the table, but City have a superior goal difference and end the season with back-to-back home games against Aston Villa and West Ham, leaving the Liverpool boss to accept his side’s wait for a first league title since 1990 is set to continue for at least another year.

“We needed to win to keep the pressure on City. With two home games now I think Manchester City will go on and be champions,” said Rodgers.

“It’s been an outstanding season for us to get to 81 points and we have one more game at Anfield, but this is disappointing for us.

“I will watch the game on Wednesday [Manchester City v Aston Villa] but if you look at it, it was important to win the game, we didn’t do that and it’s given a massive advantage to Manchester City.”

Allen headed Liverpool in front on 18 minutes with his first league goal for the club.

Maximum points seemed virtually assured with two goals in three second half minutes, Sturridge firing in a deflected effort before Suarez exchanged passes with Raheem Sterling and dinked in his 31st league goal of the campaign, the joint-record number of strikes in a 38-game season.

Yet Palace refused to throw in the towel. Delaney unleashed from 20 yards on 79 minutes to reduce the arrears, before substitute Gayle turned in Yannick Bolasie’s cross three minutes later.

With Liverpool visibly shaken Gayle found space in the box, latched onto Delaney’s flick and prodded past Simon Mignolet on 88 minutes to leave Liverpool’s title dream in tatters.